A classified State Department cable released by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten confirms that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was not simply about keeping weapons out of the hands of militant groups, but was about targeting the economy.
Rather, the document cites a high-ranking Israeli official as telling the State Department that the goal was to keep Gaza’s civilian economy permanently on the “brink of collapse,” but with just enough humanitarian aid that the government could claim it wasn’t a crisis.
The comments were largely in keeping with what was believed to be the case, and indeed one former Israeli government adviser admitted five years ago that the “idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” The cable suggests Israeli officials repeatedly put forth similar notions to the US.
Israel’s blockade has been harsh throughout, and virtually all of the damage from the early 2009 invasion remains unrepaired because Israel is still blocking construction material from the strip. Officials did, however, remove the blanket ban on items like chocolate and noodles last year after the attack on a humanitarian aid ship trying to deliver medicine to the strip brought renewed international attention. Despite the “easing” it is difficult to dispute the notion that Gaza remains, as has always been the idea, on the brink of collapse.